How to Plan for a Potential Divorce During Pandemic Times

How to Plan for a Potential Divorce During Pandemic Times

Every year in the United States, more than 700,000 couples get divorced. So if you’re considering this option, you are not alone! But divorce is never easy, no matter your circumstances.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of strain on people’s marriages. On top of this, it has also made planning a divorce more challenging. With everyone under one roof knowing how to move forward is no easy feat. 

Thankfully, there are lots of things that you can do to make getting a divorce during the coronavirus pandemic as smooth as possible. The key to this is planning

Read on to find out my top tips on how to place a divorce during COVID-19.

Consider Your Divorce Options

Once you start to plan a divorce you’ll quickly realize there are loads of different routes you can take. Getting your head around each of these will make it easier to figure out the right one for you. 

Pro Se divorces involve the two parties agreeing on a divorce settlement themselves, without the help of lawyers or mediators. You then file the paperwork on your own.

Mediation involves a neutral third party, which helps guide settlement discussions. You can use a mediator even if you don’t have a divorce lawyer.

Collaborative Process divorce proceedings involve specially trained collaborative teams. These teams consist of: 

  • Both spouses
  • A neutral financial advisor
  • A counselor
  • A child specialist (if you have a child)

Together this team reaches a settlement. When entering the collaborative process, all parties agree not to litigate the settlement. 

Attorney-to-Attorney divorce is the most traditional approach to divorce. In this case, each spouse hires an attorney to represent them in settlement discussions. This minimizes communication between the two spouses.

Litigation is often the final option and happens when a settlement cannot be reached. When this happens a judge will review your case and make a final settlement decision. 

There is no absolute “right way” to get a divorce. It is important for you to find what works for you and will be the most straightforward.

Pro Se and Collaborate Process divorces are great if you and your ex find communicating easy. But if one or both of you is hurting, involving a mediator or an attorney can make things easier.

Communicate as Clearly as Possible

Once you have an idea of what you want to do, it is a good idea to communicate this clearly. This can be very difficult and may require several conversations.

It is important to be sensitive to what both spouses need during these conversations. Wanting to protect your ex-spouse is all well and good. But it is also important to look after yourself.

For example, if conversations start spiraling it might be worth getting some space or bringing a mediator in. This will help to keep the conversations clear and productive rather than frustrating and hurtful.

You will both feel a range of emotions after a separation. However, keeping divorce conversations as practical as possible will help things run smoothly.

If you have children, they may also have questions about your divorce. Letting them know what is going on will make them feel more secure in the whole process. For example, you may want to sit them down and explain where you will be living.

For your children’s sake, it is important to stay as neutral as possible during these conversations. Accusations, tension, or conflict can leave children feeling as if they have to pick which parent to side with. So try to agree on a party-line with your spouse beforehand.

Review Your Living Situation

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of divorce during COVID-19 is your living situation. Most people will be under the same roof as their spouse and moving is more difficult than normal. 

However, it is still a good idea to think carefully about your living situation. Living with someone that you are divorcing can be very stressful. It can also make negotiating the boundaries in your new relationship difficult. 

This can be hurtful for both parties and for anyone else living with you. Divorce can be a confusing time for children but keeping things simple really helps. 

If one of you does decide to move out of the family home, it is a good idea to stay nearby. This can make it easier to reach divorce meetings. If you have kids, it also making co-parenting a lot easier.

There are several options to consider when moving out of the family home, such as:

  • Renting a new place
  • Staying with a friend or family member
  • Staying in a hotel
  • Buying somewhere new

Renting or stay with a friend are generally the most popular choices. These provide more stability for the person who has moved out. Once the divorce has been settled, it is much easier to think about buying somewhere new.

Get support from Professionals

As we’ve already mentioned, you don’t have to get help from professionals during a divorce. But if you want to, it’s a good idea to have a few options lined up. 

There are more than 62,000 family law companies operating across the United States. So you’ve got plenty of choices to pick from!

When choosing an attorney, mediator, or counselor for your divorce, it’s a good idea to look at their testimonials. This will help you find someone to suit you and your personal situation. It is also a good idea to discuss issues that you feel could become a problem and see how they respond to these.

Get Your Financial Paperwork in Place

Dividing your finances is a huge part of the divorce process. You can save yourself time (and lawyers’ fees!) by getting your financial paperwork together as soon as possible.

This should cover information on your income and assets, as well as your bank account information. Your financial paperwork can include things like: 

  • Payslips
  • Bank statements (for personal and business accounts) 
  • Tax returns 
  • Investment funds
  • Retirement or pension accounts
  • Real estate investments 
  • Business interests 

If you have any liabilities you should include these too. These include: 

  • Student loans 
  • Mortgages
  • Car loans 
  • Credit card debt
  • Business debt

It is a good idea to collect this into one, secure online location. Then you can use secure-sharing portals to give your lawyer access to these. This means you can avoid meeting in person altogether.

Create a Budget for the Divorce Proceedings

Planning ahead can make going through a divorce as stress-free as possible. And creating a budget can really help. This means that you won’t have to worry about your financial stability during divorce proceedings. 

Your budget should include any divorce-related costs. For example, you should budget your lawyers’ or mediator’s fees. 

However, it’s also worth thinking about the practical costs of divorce as well. For example, let’s say that you decide to move out of your marital home and rent an apartment. In that case, you will need to have enough money saved to cover your rental costs. 

If you have children with your partner, you may have to continue paying child support before you reach a settlement. So it’s worth considering that you will have to contribute to two household’s food budgets. 

This can feel like a lot to handle. But minimizing financial pressure during this time will help you to keep focused. So you will still be able to make sound decisions about the direction of your divorce.

Put a Parenting Plan in Place

Getting divorced when you have children can be a tough decision but it is also extremely brave.

If your marriage isn’t working, it is also the right decision in the long run. In fact, growing up around a dysfunctional relationship can be very damaging for children. So often divorce is the best course of action for your children’s happiness.

50% of children in America will see their parents’ divorce, so your kids will be in good company!

However, creating stability for your children during a divorce is vital. This helps them to understand what is going on and creates security at a time of uncertainty. So it is important you have a parenting plan in place before you tell them. 

This should outline who will have custody of your children during and after your divorce. It should also discuss how often your children are going to see each parent. 

Other practical considerations to discuss include: 

  • Division of home-schooling responsibilities
  • Travel responsibilities 
  • How much warning should be given for a change for plans (for example 48 hours) 
  • Financial support if the children are going to live in one home more

Deciding these in advance will help you to co-parent as smoothly as possible.

Take Care of Your Own Mental Health

No couple goes into a marriage planning their divorce. So, when this happens, there will often be a period of adjustment. 

As well as planning practically you should also take good care of your mental health. This will help you to make informed decisions about your divorce. It will also help you be a present parent if you are looking after your children while divorcing. 

It is a good idea to reach out to friends or family members about what you are going through. That way they can check in on you, give you space to vent, or offer practical support.

Taking time out for yourself is also incredibly important. Here are some great ideas for relieving stress:

  • Taking a long bath
  • Turning your phone off few a phone hours
  • Going for a walk in nature
  • Exercising
  • Meditation
  • Phoning a friend or family member for a catch-up
  • Reading a book

It is also important that you look after yourself physically. Eating properly, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly will all support your overall mental health.

Assess the Logistics of Your Situation

There is one big difference when it comes to getting divorced during coronavirus. Unlike in ‘normal’ times, most of your meetings will take place via video or phone calls.

This means you may spend long periods on the phone with your lawyers. It also means that you have to handle all of your divorce proceedings from home.

There are benefits to this. For example, you may find your lawyer has more availability for over-the-phone meetings. This means that your divorce proceedings are handled quickly.

However, you or your spouse may decide that it would be better to have in-person meetings. For example, meeting in person can be easier if you are going through a collaborative-process divorce. 

In that case, it may be worth considering your options.

If you want to have meetings in-person, you may want to consider separating for the foreseeable future. If both of you are more comfortable with this arrangement, for the time being, this can be a good option. Then, once things become more normal, you can resume the process.

The most important thing is finding something that works for both parties. This is the best way to keep conflict at a minimum.

Get Help with Planning a Divorce Now

Planning a divorce can feel like an overwhelming task, especially during a global pandemic!

This is why it is important to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to consider your options. There are also lots of places you can turn to for support during a divorce.

Thanks to technology, coordinating schedules with your ex-partner is now easier than ever. To find out more about how 2House apps can make this transition smoother for you, check them out now.

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